To avoid an exhaustive preview as I do from time to time without even really thinking about it, this is going to be a brief explanation of my predictions and what things will look like in the end. So here we go.
In a division where literally anybody could finish just about anywhere (maybe save Toronto), there’s a good chance that’s exactly what will take place. Every team except Tampa Bay is loaded with power and every team except Baltimore has an ace pitcher (assuming Tanaka plays to his potential in New York). Will be interesting to see how the young guys can lead Boston. Troy Tulowitzki might be the guy that takes Toronto over the top, but Marcus Stroman is the guy that will keep them there. He looked very good coming back for the playoffs and will have a full season to wow the Jays’ fans. Champs: Blue Jays.
While the Royals lost a little bit from their World Series roster, they still have more than enough talent to win the whole thing again. Minnesota has some interesting young guys and no pitching. Can their pitching be dominant? That’s the same question we’ve got for Detroit of Zimmerman/Verlander/Sanchez and whoever else is asked to step up. Chris Sale will be great but that’s about it for the White Sox and the Indians are in Cleveland, so yeah. Champs: Royals.
As long as the Angels have Mike Trout they will be a player, but this sketchiness of the pitching staff leaves some questions. Andrelton Simmons was a steal though. Oakland looks stuck again and they didn’t do much to change from last year. Should be fun to watch Sonny Gray. Texas made some solid moves (Ian Desmond among them) and has Cole Hamels around so they should be set for a run. Amazingly enough, the Astros are ascending and are now the new young team on the block with burgeoning young stars. If they continue to develop as hitters and get some good pitching at the back end of the rotation then the sky is the limit. Champs: Astros.
Wildcards: Royals and Yankees.
So the Braves are getting ready for a few years from now when young players are developed (i.e. Houston a few years ago). So no use looking at them. The Nationals are everyone’s favorite again but they need to prove they can get over the hump. They certainly have the whole package. New York is stacked with young pitching and enough hitting to win now. While the Phillies might be the only team (save the Padres) that could be worse than the Braves. Miami might be a surprise with a healthy Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez. Champs: Mets.
Does Pittsburgh finally have enough help for Andrew McCutcheon? No. And being a small-market team with questionable depth will continue to hinder their progress after years of losing. Can the Cardinals overcome some big losses to free agency? Sure. But a lot of it rides on the health and production of Matt Holliday. Unfortunately, he’s kinda old. The Brewers and Reds will play 162 games each. That’s probably 162 too many. But the Cubs are another sexy pick for the World Series. With some vets and some youngins with unquestioned talent, it’s up to this pitching staff (namely Arrieta and Lester) to dominate. Champs: Cubs.
The Dodgers spent all that money for a few years in a row and then didn’t do anything in the postseason. Welp, at least they still have Clayton Kershaw. Arizona better win now but AJ Pollock getting hurt really doesn’t help (assuming he doesn’t come back). Not convinced they aren’t a shiny new version of the Padres of two years ago (although Paul Goldschmidt is an absolute stud). Oh yeah, San Diego sucks. At least the weather is nice. Colorado will be busy at the trade deadline but that’s about it. And if the Giants don’t win again then I’ll be surprised. You win with pitching. And boy does San Francisco have A LOT of pitching. Champs: Giants.
Wildcards: Nationals and Cardinals.
World Series: Cubs over Astros in 6.